“Women’s regular bleeding engenders phantoms.” ~ Paracelsus
So, I had a conversation the other day with the lovely Karina about menstrual products and how applicator tampons aren’t really a thing where she lives in Germany, while they’re pretty commonplace here in the UK.
Midway through this conversation it occurred to me that I had no idea how anyone besides myself handled their periods. No how they felt about them, what products they used, or anything. This piqued my curiosity.
So, me being me I decided I’d better ask some people.
And ran some Twitter polls. That seemed the most convenient way.
If you’re also interested here are the, completely unscientific and non-generalisable, results of my survey.
Few respondents were all that enamoured of their periods in general.
When it comes to what products people use:
The rarity of applicator tampons may just be a German thing as 96% of respondents were aware of their availability and for most they were also the tampon of choice.
Tweeters who used them had many positive things to say about mooncups, with several linking to this very interesting article, although their appeal seemed to be limited.
Most people seem to be happy with the range of menstrual products available to them.
The factors people consider when choosing their menstrual products:
It was exactly 50/50 as to whether cost was a factor in choice of purchase, for some this is out of necessity.
The environmental impact was also a factor for a few people.
And a few tampon users were also mindful of the potential health implications.
My own responses:
I personally use tampons, almost exclusively of the applicator variety, and give nowhere near as much mind to the risk of toxic shock syndrome as I possibly ought.
I consider the environment in so much as I always buy the ones with cardboard applicators.
I’m not bothered about the price but will buy the own brand tampons where available because I don’t see the justification for brands charging twice as much money for a piece of cotton wool in a tube.
I was pretty unconcerned by my periods until recently when they became incredibly heavy and painfully. I’m on a waiting list to have an appointment with my GP to get a Mirena coil to help with this.
I’m mildly interested in the concept of a mooncup but would worry about needing to change it while I’m out and about without access to anywhere sanitary to change it, besides which I’m satisfied with what I’m already using.
As an aside to the polls I also got into conversation with a few people about the accessibility of menstrual products for homeless and the very poor.
A few people mentioned they’d be happy to pay extra for their own tampons and pads if it meant that they’d be made available for free to people who needed them.
If you share this concern there are a number of ways you can help.
- Damsel In This Dress is currently raising funds to provide sanitary products to homeless women.
- #TheHomelessPeriod is running a campaign to see menstrual products provided in homeless shelters as condoms are already.
- Or if you contact your local foodbank or shelter they will advise you on how to make a donation of either products or the cash to buy them to the organisation directly.
How about you?
So did any of that interest you? Surprise you? Is there anything else you’d like to know or think I should have asked about other people handle their periods?
Share your own thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.